The most obvious traditional answer was price. The basic deal was that the best price would be the en primeur or ‘futures’ price – the consumer rewarding the merchant, the merchant rewarding the negocient, the negocient rewarding the châteaux/domaine with cash up front, long before anyone would see the finished wine in bottle.
Of course you are not buying an entire vintage, you are picking out individual wines, so over-performers who nonetheless price ‘normally’ may well prove to make financial sense.
But there are some other reasons to buy en primeur
- Provenance is assured. You will be the first to take delivery of the wine and you will have control over its handling and storage from day one, with all the assurance for preserving condition that that brings. Years down the line that will mean either drinking the wine in its optimal condition, or being able to offer it for re-sale with complete assurance to the next buyer. Everyone benefits from assured provenance.
- Access. This isn’t Burugndy, but it is true that some of these wines appear later in the secondary market in much lower quantities. This is the best chance to ensure you can own what you want.
- Sunk cost. It’s not an obvious one, but taking the pain of the expense now is something akin to savings. The wine will feel like a bonus when it comes to drinking it!
- Choice of bottle formats. If you like to own your favourite wines in a nice mix of halves, magnums and imperials, this is your best – often only – chance to have the wine bottled in formats you want. (Subject to availability and advance ordering).